Biden Administration Posts Record Deficit of $660 Billion In March

April 13th, 2021 Comments off

 

 

In March 2020 the U.S. Federal Government posted a deficit of $119 billion, reflecting the already profligate spending of Washington pre-pandemic. One year later, with President Biden going literally for broke, Covid related federal spending  pushed government outlays to $927 billion, with receipts of only $268 billion, leaving a record deficit for March 2021 of $ 660 billion.

Not during Franklin Roosevelt’s Great Depression era  New Deal program, or the massive stimulus budget of the Obama administration in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis has there been such dizzying levels of federal spending. The  deficits incurred by Washington are fully matched by state governments, as well as sovereigns throughout the world.

Despite the record  price levels on equity markets and particularly on Wall Street, there are worrying signs of approaching inflation. As this blog has warned before, significantly higher rates of inflation will compel the Federal Reserve to abandon its near-zero interest rate policy. Once interest rates rise to anything approaching normal levels, debt servicing costs for Washington will balloon to an unsustainable level.

Sheldon Filger-blogger for GlobalEconomicCrisis.com

President Biden After Two Months: Rapidly Rising Sovereign Debt & International Tensions

March 19th, 2021 Comments off

Sheldon Filger-blogger for GlobalEconomicCrisis.com

The supposed raison d’être of the Biden presidency was defined by its political allies and media supporters as  a “return to normality” after the 4-year administration of former president and major-league disruptor Donald Trump.  Now that the Biden administration has been in office for 2-months. what is the  scorecard?

Problematic, for 3 major reasons, all interconnected:

 

  1. Unprecedented rise in the national debt The passage of the latest Covid relief bill, following in the wake of earlier bills Congress approved during the last months of the Trump administration, have skyrocketed the U.S. national debt at a level never before seen. The stimulus package approved during the Obama-Biden administration following the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-09 is trivial in comparison. The latest package adds $1.9 trillion to the already staggering growth in the nation’s sovereign debt during the course of a single year. Defenders of the Biden administration claim that there should be no concern. Other indicators provide a different answer. Rising 10-year bond yields, the growing disconnect between Wall Street and Main Street and other factors point to a growth of future inflationary trends and expectations. Should inflation become realized at  higher rates than the past 15 years. the growth in debt servicing costs for the U.S. Treasury may break the U.S. Federal Budget in future years.
  2. Breakdown of control on the Southern border. The Biden administration has undone most of his predecessor’s border control policies. The result is a rise in massive, uncontrolled immigration from impoverished and violence-stricken Latin American countries, outside the legal process. This development has the potential to promote domestic instability in a country already stricken with a partisan divide characterized by growing mutual hostility.

3.Worsening international relations. In particular, President Biden  and his policymakers and advisors have exacerbated the already inharmonious relations that existed between Washington and its  two major global adversaries; Russia and China. The most recent  example was President Biden’s public comment that Putin was a “killer.” This needlessly hostile name-calling directed at the head of state of a major power possessing a nuclear arsenal equal to that of the U.S. was stunning. The supposedly more polished and experienced Biden, often contrasted as such with Trump, engaged in the type of  verbal insults and bullying expected at a schoolyard scrap, not from mature and professional policymakers. That such amateurish behavior has already occurred so early in the Biden presidency points to the likelihood of a worsening of bilateral relations between the U.S. and Russia, and probably a similar trend with China.

The above three factors are interconnected. They  points  to the United States, under the auspices of the Biden administration, engaging  in policies that are fiscally, domestically and geopolitically highly destabilizing. This makes a global economic depression a far more likely event in the near future.

Massive Distortion In Global Economy and Rise of Bitcoin Valuation: Signs of Impending Economic Disaster?

February 16th, 2021 Comments off

Sheldon Filger-blogger for GlobalEconomicCrisis.com

An unprecedented wave of policy measures has enabled distortions that  are wreaking havoc in the global economy, creating accelerating dangers of a cataclysmic event. This can be in the form of a market crash, contagion from imploding asset bubbles or rise in fears of inflation leading to irrational money flows. A combination of all these forces in synchronicity can be the single event leading to a global depression.

The major factor in the global economy at present is the unprecedented wave of liquidity being unleashed by policy makers. That fact alone is what has driven the sharp rise in equity prices since the initial collapse in the wake of Covid-induced economic shutdowns. There is no other explanation for the massive rise in equity prices, even while the real economy is stagnant after a sharp decline  in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The divide between Main Street and Wall Street alongside the sharp rise in equities has never been wider. It is only due to the money printing of central banks and record levels of public debt caused by the fiscal policies of sovereigns that has brought about this phenomenon.

Alongside the sharp rise in equity prices has been the explosive price rise in Bitcoin. The emergence of crypto or digital currencies in general, and Bitcoin in particular, has brought about the most expansive speculative bubble in the modern financial era. Bitcoin is completely opaque; nobody even knows the true identity of the person who created this cyber currency. Yet, even Tesla among other companies has begun to invest substantially in this digital currency as a means of mitigating risk factors.

Meanwhile, bond yields have begun to rise, an indication of growing fears of inflation. That, and the continuing deluge of liquidity from the policymakers, has created perhaps the most distorted and unstable financial environments since the  period that preceded the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Growing Concern Among Veteran Investors At Stock Market Bubble That Will Burst With Catastrophic Effect

January 25th, 2021 Comments off

Sheldon Filger-blogger for GlobalEconomicCrisis.com

When Covid-19 first impacted major economies last Spring, stock markets throughout the world plunged  by double-digits in a period of only 3-weeks. Yet, not only have these losses all been recouped; less than a year later equities have reached record levels, led by the Dow Jones index. In addition, other speculative investments such as the cyber currency Bitcoin have soared to dizzying highs. Yet, amid this financial exuberance veteran investors are displaying growing concern for the future. The  Financial Times has characterized their concern as seeing  “a bubble to rival anything  seen in the past century.”

Simply put , there is a disconnect between the equity markets and  the real economy, which is in dire straits in virtually every country. The sole reason for the escalation in equity prices is the unprecedented money printing by central banks, combined with equally unparalleled deficit spending by sovereigns. It is only this monetary and financial sugar high which is driving soaring equity prices.

When the first hint occurs that the pump-priming may be receding, however, the investors will run for the exists. What is likely to occur is a global stock market crash of calamitous proportions which, like the 1929   crash on Wall Street, will usher in a period of deep economic depression.

U.S. Economy: Job Losses Amid Growing Political Instability

January 9th, 2021 Comments off

Sheldon Filger-blogger for GlobalEconomicCrisis.com

The Labor Department released its jobs reports for December 2020. It is dismal yet not surprising. In the past month the U.S. shed 140,00 jobs. This is the first monthly contraction  in  employment numbers  since April 2020, and the destruction of millions of jobs in the early stages of the Covid-19  pandemic. Though vaccines are slowly being distributed in the United States, having been developed in record time, the nation is currently experiencing the most severe spread of coronavirus, with states responding with further lockdowns and restrictions on economic activity. This portends to further job losses as the Biden administration takes over the White House in a matter of days.

It is not only the Covid-19 contagion that is damaging  the American economy. The risk assessment consultancy Eurasia Group lists political division in the United States as the number one global risk, ahead of the Covid pandemic. As if on cue, 48 hours after the release of Eurasia Group’s, report  on top global risks, riots erupted within  the Capitol building in Washington DC.  The growing political stratification within American society, combined with the continuing damaging impact of Covid on economic  activity, points to a very negative economic outlook for the United States and inevitably for the entire global economy.

 

China To Become World’s Largest Economy by 2028 According To Leading Economic Forecasting Firm

December 27th, 2020 Comments off

Sheldon Filger-blogger for GlobalEconomicCrisis.com

The  Center For Economics  and Business Research (CEBR), a UK based consultancy firm, has issued a new forecast that projects China’s GDP will surpass that of the United States by 2028, making China the largest economy in the world. This  projection is five years earlier than an earlier forecast, pointing to an  accelerating decline in U.S. economic strength relative to that of the People’s Republic of China.

According to the CEBR, the primary driver in the imminent surpassing of America’s GDP by China is the impact of Covid-19. The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the U.S. more than any other national economy,  creating massive financial losses, major economic dislocation  and political instability that also retards future economic growth. In contrast, though the pandemic originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the draconian measures adopted by Beijing led in the long-term to less economic damage. The relatively low rate of Covid infections in China over the past several months has enabled America’s primary economic competitor to return to growth, while the United States in mired in a patchwork of intermittent and inconsistent lockdowns, while infection rates and  mortality are at a peak.

The fact that China is now projected to have the largest GDP in the world by 2028 will have significant geopolitical consequences, as well  as determine which country will have the most impact on the global economy. Thus far, there are no signs that political leaders in either the U.S., Europe or Russia have fully comprehend the seismic shift in economic power that is occurring virtually in real time, largely enabled by a global pandemic that ironically originated  in China.

Biden Administration Faced With Looming Sovereign Debt Trap

December 13th, 2020 Comments off

In the 2-year period between 2008 and 2010 something peculiar happened to the U.S. Federal Budget. In 2008 the Federal Government in the United States spent $253 billion on interest  incurred by the national debt, representing  8.5 % of all federal outlays. Over the next two years federal budget deficits skyrocketed due to stimulus  and other fiscal programs undertaken in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis. Obviously, massive deficit spending  greatly increased the national debt. However, instead of the expected increase in annual interest payments, the amount allocated for debt interest payments by the Federal Government actually declined to $196 billion, representing  only 5.7% of the Federal budget, a sharp decline from only two years previously.

How was this seemingly impossible mathematical trick accomplished? The answer is surreal in its simplicity. The Federal Reserve, by monetizing the debt and exercising other monetary levers at  its disposals, sharply reduced interest rates across the board. In the case of short term interest rates, they were in some cases reduced to virtually zero ; in essence, free money.  It is only for that reason that interest paid on the national debt plunged while the overall debt ballooned due to continuous  and massive deficit spending.

Will the incoming Biden administration be so lucky? Unlikely. After massive deficit spending in President Trump’s final year in office, primarily due to a Coronavirus relief bill  that increased borrowing by more than $2 trillion dollars on top of the already large structural deficit, a President Biden is set to add a new and even larger Covid stimulus  relief package during his first year in office. So clearly, the national debt will continue to grow at a rapid rate.

What about interest rates? If it could, the Fed would keep interest rates at zero almost forever. But it  can’t. On the horizon are warning signs of high inflation. In the period after the Global Financial Crisis low inflation enabled central banks worldwide to prime the pump and run the printing presses. This time there is decoupling of major trading relationships: U.S. and China; U.K. and Eurozone. As  supply chains fragment, costs will be driven  upwards. Furthermore, there exist geopolitical tensions that threaten to drive up commodity prices, should they worsen. Political instability within  the United States itself creates elevated risks, which in turn stimulate inflationary pressures.

Any meaningful uptick in the  rate of inflation will compel central banks, including the Federal Reserve, to begin raising interest  rates. Once that happens, the massive deficit spending of the Biden administration that is now projected will unleash a sovereign debt trap, condemning the American and other economies, large and small, to stagflation, meaning higher inflation and a highly depressed economy. The handwriting is on the wall. In a worst case scenario, the U.S. government will default on its national debt, with seismic repercussions. Alternatively, the Biden administration could attempt to reduce the national debt through hyperinflation, which will  induce it s own calamitous impact on the nation’s social stability.

Sheldon Filger-blogger for GlobalEconomicCrisis.com

Double Dip Recession Forecast For Eurozone

November 26th, 2020 Comments off

A growing consensus  among economists is that the second wave of Covid-19 has induced a repeat of the lockdowns  of economic activity that sent Q2 metrics into a tailspin. Though the lockdowns currently underway may not exactly match the draconian character of the earlier  shutdowns, they are becoming increasingly severe as the coronavirus infection rate in many European countries threatens to overwhelm their medical systems.

Though several  viable vaccines are on the horizon, it will likely not be until mid to late 2021 that they succeed in terminating the current pandemic. The current reality in terms of economic activity and Covid-19 makes it increasingly clear that the Eurozone, for the most part, will return to recession after the recovery in Q3. This means at least 2 consecutive quarters of negative growth from the Eurozone, in Q4 2020 and Q1 2021.

Inevitably, a double dip recession throughout the Eurozone will  have a significant negative impact on the region’s primary trading and economic partners, notably China and the United States. In addition, the projected double dip recession will further strain sovereign balance sheets, already burdened with unprecedented levels of debt for addressing the recession that occurred in Q2. Adding trillions of euros in public debt, and trillions more, to the balance sheet of the European Central  Bank, points to a growing sovereign debt crisis likely to impact just as the pandemic has receded.

Incoming Biden Administration: A President Biden Makes Global Economic Depression A Greater Short Term Risk

November 8th, 2020 Comments off

The corporate media and social media complex, America’s new power center, has declared that former Vice President Biden is now President-elect Biden. Though Trump is pursuing a last ditch, scorched-earth policy of legal challenges, with no concession in sight, the odds are virtually certain that Biden will be inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States. What are the global economic implications  of this?

The Covid-19 pandemic has unshed in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.The  Q3 uptick is now likely to be followed by a double dip recession, as a second wave of coronavirus ravages a advanced economies, including the United States. Though the Biden policy team is committed to a more aggressive stance on combating Covid-19 and offering large fiscal stimulus packages. the economic prognosis is not bright.

Biden will enter the presidency with a divided electorate, including 70 million Trump voters, who are largely convinced that the election was a fraud, meaning the incoming presidency is illegitimate. Instead of the expected Blue Wave, the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives is reduced, and the GOP may very well retain control of the Senate. Divided government, and a divided people  will create instability in what is still the world’s largest economy,  possessing the strongest military power.  That does not portend well towards an economic recovery.

Continued economic shutdowns due to the pandemic, ineffective fiscal stimulus programs combined with growing sovereign debt along with the political and social instability in the U.S. lead to the conclusion that the trajectory towards an economic depression, already baked into the cake, will accelerate. It is likely to happen during the incoming administration’s four-year term.

 

 

Double Dip Recession Imminent As Covid-19 Induced Economic Lockdowns Reintroduced

October 26th, 2020 Comments off

With Europe and North America experiencing a virulent second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, lockdowns of the economy are being reintroduced by sovereigns on  an increasingly stringent basis. As an example, many regions in Spain are imposing enforced curfews.

The first wave of economic shutdowns  sparked the worst economic contraction in many developed countries since the Great Depression of the 1930s, greatly surpassing the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-2009 in severity. A return to at least semi-normal economic activity facilitated a sharp statistical bump in economic growth. Now, another major contraction looms on the horizon.

Depending on the duration of the current wave of Covid-19 induced shutdowns, a double dip recession  looks increasingly likely for many economies, both advanced and developing. A double-dip recession also raises the possibility that a global economic depression, already a strong possibility, becomes a virtual certainty.